What do you look forward to at Anthrocon every year?
And for those of you curious lurkers who haven't been able to make it to AC yet; What are you most excited to do at your first AC?
I'm not gonna talk about the stuff on the schedule. Everyone looks forward to that.
I think that the moment that I most look forward to every year is when I park the car, throw my daypack over one shoulder, and walk over to the hotel to check into my room. And am greeted by a lobby full of giant animals, and people walking around in ears, tails, and all manner of strange and wonderful garb. No matter how many conventions I have attended (including more than a couple of years on staff at FurFright/Furpocalypse) it's always the same. And it never gets old.
It's hard to describe... But I feel myself making a mental shift.
And once the shift is done, I tell myself: "Soggy, you're home! For the next four nights, real life and the outside world don't exist. Turn off the news-radio, don't turn on the TV. Just go have fun!" And have fun I do!
And then there's the random and unexpected stuff. Chance meetings and brief conversations with GOHs, dancing fursuiters, hearing piano music on Sunday evening and tracking it down in time to sing along with Cosmic playing Billy Joel's "Piano Man", helping an AC staffer lug something heavy, arriving at a panel early and ending up helping them set up, wandering around the con-space drinking in the atmosphere while fooling around with one of my animal hand-puppets, answering questions from newbies and the general public (How do they recognize me?!? Does being on staff at a furry-con mean that you get "Can I Help?" tattoed on your forehead in ink that is invisible in a mirror and all known forms of image-capturing devices?!?)... Things like that are always my fondest memories.
And my traditional Thursday evening lasagna wrap at FURnando's. Om-nom-nommy-num-nums!!!!!!!!
I know what you mean - arriving and falling back into place in 'con mode' its is own special magic. Particularly for AC, I find it can feel almost like picking up right where we left off last year in a way; time has obviously passed, but no matter how hard or long the year between was, we are back with friends again.
And the random and unexpected stuff definitely makes for some of the best memories.
Turn off the news-radio, don't turn on the TV.
Oh well, guess I blow that part of the con for you, with my tendency to check out the 11 o'clock news each night before turning in.
But yes, as has been well-said in this thread so far, there's a spirit and atmosphere that pervades AC that I imagine only a furry con can provide, and since AC is the biggest of all furry cons, the feeling is the most pronounced here. Never in my life have I felt as outright relaxed, comfortable, at ease and just plain happy as I have at AC over the years. A couple of years ago, on the Sunday night after Closing Ceremonies, I was hanging in the Westin lobby watching the suiters cavort, and there was a local there with his young daughter, taking in this spectacle to her sheer delight. As I told that dad then, "Disney likes to boast it's the happiest place on earth, but for one weekend each summer, Pittsburgh becomes the happiest place on earth."
I'll have to agree with the above.
The intense slide from normal life to 'The Anthrocon Vibe' is remarkable.
For me, there are some friends that I only get to see at AC. Being able to link back up with them and carry on as if we hadn't had a year of absence is just wonderful.
Then there is the aforementioned escape from the world for a while, just existing along with other people with similar interests and whimsy for a few days. Just having fun and not being concerned with whatever else is going on "out there".
And just...the feeling of being at a con. The ambient excitement. The art that's everywhere, regardless of the format. The late nights looking out from atop the roof of the convention center at the city of Pittsburgh, in the company of friends, and just feeling good.
-trying out new restaurants (Burgatory, Bill's Burger Bar, Parmenti Bros)
-the lasanga wraps at Furnandos (YUM!)
-Whose Lion is it anyway
-The overnight shift in the Tiger's Den (getting paid to eat pizza and watch youtube all night)
-The Saturday Afternoon Luncheon (LOVE THE CAKES!)
-The moment the first day when you come into the city of pittsburgh through the tunnel and it's like a festival of lights. It. Is. Beautiful.
That moment coming around the bend in I-376 when the city comes into view, and I know I'm home again.
Walking into the hotel lobby, full of suiters and furs of all stripes (and spots!), all so happy to be there. The hotels all decorated, the staff wearing ears too, the hotels' with their own "fursonas" in the lobby.
The first locals who come up to ask and talk about the con and the fandom.
The food...gods, the food. Tenpenny, Bill's, Sharp Edge, Bakersfield, Furnandos, a big dinner the last night at Melting Pot.
The first time getting in suit and heading down to the lobby.
That incredible moment, in the fursuit parade, coming down the escalator and outside the DLCC, to find what feels like have the city there waiting for us.
Tearing through the dealer's room spending -far- too much money.
SOOO much good food.
Setting in to relax with a board game with friends.
Kage's story hour.
Exploring the gorgeous city of Pittsburgh.
Dancing (well, some would dispute my calling it dancing...) in fursuit until barely have the energy to get back to my room.
Wandering down to the river, or the roof of the DLCC, for a few quieter moments with someone special.
Forgetting the real world. Forgetting all my issues with myself, with anyone else, with reality, and just spenidng a few days living the most amazing, uplifting dream imaginable.
Did I mention the food in Pittsburgh?
I mean, what do I look forward to most? Every single moment of Anthrocon. There's no way to pick just one thing, not even just a few things. Every moment.
I was only at AC on Saturday last year, took a greyhound bus on a last minute (read: day before) decision. I'm looking most forward to being part of the fursuit parade!
I'm also looking forwrd to Kage's story hour and Who's Lion... I've heard great things.
the thing i look forward to most is getting sketchbook commissions.even though getting digital ones involves less expense (no travel,no hotel stay nor con admissions) theres nothing like seeing something drawn on paper.
Other highlights include stepping outside the airport for a shuttle or cab and enjoying the lack of triple digit tempatures that are prevelant in Phoenix at that time of year, seeing the lobby of the Omni hotel once again, seeing the football and baseball stadiums on the north shore, hitting up Primonti borthers once again for their awesome sandwiches, Kages story hour, the supersponsor luncheon, the art show reception and just being away from work of course.
The hotdog vendor cart out on the street that only opens for AC.
Getting to see so many suits in one place and in person.
Getting a much needed vacation with lots of exercise.
Getting to hear Uncle Kage on a bull horn explaining that the printers broke again this year.